Thursday, October 15, 2020

Isn't It Romantic?

Simmer Down

Sarah Smith
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?
Nikki made a decision to leave her life in Portland behind when her father became ill. Following his death, she was determined to achieve his food truck dream. Though it had not been easy, they were finally finding some success, but it was threatened when a new food truck defied proper truck etiquette by parking in their area. Lots of sparks flew between these rivals as they prepared to battle for the spot, but would they be able to ignore the growing attraction between them? 

When people ask me why I read, I tell them the main reason is for escape, and Smith gave me that in the form of an island paradise. She took me from beach to beach, while also providing me with ample and delicious sounding culinary delights. Yes, there was lots of great scenery and food to be had!

I obviously enjoyed the sights, sounds, and flavors of Maui, but Smith also made me feel things. I laughed and smiled and swooned, which I always expect as I read a romance, but there were some tears too. When I shed tears it shows how invested I am in the outcome for these characters. I really was rooting for everyone here. 

Nikki lost a lot when her father passed away, and she never quite healed from that loss. She slowly began pushing away her friends, while avoiding forming any new relationships. She was essentially living inside a bubble with her mother as a way to protect herself. Maybe I didn't agree with her behaviors, but I understood them, and I cheered for her as she attempted to move forward. 

Why? Because I really liked Nikki and Callum as a couple. Once the dust settled with the rivalry, I started seeing how sweet, considerate, and big hearted Callum was. I knew he was perfect for Nikki. When Nikki wasn't fighting it and simply allowed herself to "feel", there were some fun and beautiful moments shared between these two.

Checklist of things I loved:

☑ Fantastic setting 🌴
☑Mouthwatering food
☑CATS! 🐈
☑A stupendous mom
☑The Office dates 🍾
☑Cooking together
☑Beach trips 🏊‍♂️
☑A big hearted hero
☑An A+ ending

Overall, I had a wonderful time watching these two try to make their food truck dreams come true while also falling in love. 

Crazy Stupid Bromance

Lyssa Kay Smith
Series: Bromance Book Club, #3
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.
The Bromance boys are back, and this time, they want to help their pal, Noah, get out of the friend zone. Noah met Alexis right when she came forward as a survivor of sexual assault and harassment. Since then, he and Alexis have become best friends, but it is obvious to everybody else, that she owns his heart. Now Noah must decide if he is willing to risk their friendship and take a chance on love. 

I keep saying this, but I really hope there are many, many, MANY new initiates into the Bromance Book Club, because I simply relish being in this world. As with the previous books, my favorite parts were when the men were on page together. Those moments spent with them are always fun-filled, but there are also a lot of deep and meaningful things discussed among them as well. 

I always enjoy the book within the book, and we had another great one here - the NFL player who walked out of her life. The first chapter was fantastic, and I know I would enjoy this book, if it were real. I have to give Adams kudos for coming up with these additional stories. Seeing the men trying to tie the lessons from the books to their own lives is always great, and something that makes this series so special. 

BUT, I came for the romance, and as always, I was not disappointed. The friendship shared between Noah and Alexis was so wonderful. The love, care, and tenderness was already there, but they had the wounds of their pasts to deal with before they could take it to the next level. Both suffered from daddy issues of sorts, and this was a barrier for them. That plus another subplot made this installment a bit weightier at times, but Adams is quite gifted at keeping heavier topics on the light-side, and they never bog down the story. Seeing this pair deal with their ghosts and move towards a future together was truly gratifying, because I found them to be a phenomenal couple. 

Overall, I was ecstatic to be back in this world. The friendship between these men, the stellar romance, and the spotlight on live organ donation were all pluses for me, and I am jumping for joy that we will be getting The Russian's book next.   

**ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

Are you a food truck fan?
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